THE RADIOMETER: A FRESH EVIDENCE OF A MOLECULAR UNIVERSE.1
JOSIAH P. COOKE
NO one who is not familiar with the history of physical science can appreciate how very modern are those grand conceptions which add so much to the loftiness of scientific studies ; and of the many who, on one of our starlit nights, look up into the depths of space, and are awed by the thoughts of that immensity which come crowding upon the mind, there are few, I imagine, who realize the fact that almost all the knowledge, which gives such great sublimity to that sight, is the result of comparatively recent scientific investigation; and that the most elementary student can now gain conceptions of the immensity of the universe of which the fathers of astronomy never dreamed.
THEY die in such rapid succession! You hardly have time, after returning from a funeral, to think about who is to be the successor of the lamented dead, when you hear of the demise of another illustrious colleague. The members of the Paris Academy of Sciences can scarcely find competent successors for the dead celebrities among the few representatives of the new generation; yet the places of those celebrities must be filled, although everybody knows that the new men will but poorly fill those places.
WHEN we read that Cook “ presented the king [of Otaheite] with two large hatchets, some showy beads, a looking-glass, a knife, and some nails;” or when Speke, describing his reception by the King of Uganda, narrates—“I then said I had brought the best shooting-gun in the world—Whitworth’s rifle—which I begged he would accept, with a few other trifles ”—we are reminded how travelers in general, coming in contact with strange peoples, propitiate them by gifts.
THE recent appearance of those remarkable devices the telephone and the phonograph has given such a new interest to the general subject of voice, music, and sound, and the conditions and mechanisms by which they are produced, that a familiar explanation of some of the points involved may be useful at the present time.
ABOUT two years ago I chanced to call on an educated professional man, who was much interested in the subject of delusions. He said, “I have been long wishing to see you, in order to get an explanation of some strange things that have happened under my observation.”
VI. THE STEAM-ENGINE OF THE FUTURE, AND ITS BUILDER.
PROFESSOR R. H. THURSTON
HAVING thus rapidly outlined the history of the steam-engine, and of some of its most important applications, we may now take up the question— What is the problem, stated precisely and in its most general form, that engineers have been attempting here to solve?
ALL human knowledge is limited—limited by the power of the senses, limited by the scope of the senses, limited by the imperfections of the senses. The eye cannot see an atom, because of its minuteness; it cannot measure the sun or the stars, because of their vastness; it can only be trusted to take the approximate and comparative measure of a limited class of objects within certain distances.
AT the very moment when Cailletet was subjecting successively to the test of his apparatus the six permanent gases, and was conquering their resistance to compression, M. Raoul Pictet was making his experiments, first on oxygen, then on hydrogen.
THE ultimate triumph of the metric system may be regarded as safe, beyond peradventure ; no event still in the future is more certain. A universal system of weights, measures, and currency, is an imperative demand of advancing civilization; and this particular solution is worthy of the great problem, fit for all countries and for all time.
EVERY one has tried the experiment of “holding the breath,” and has found that after the lapse of a minute, or a minute and a half at the farthest, there supervenes a most peculiar and intolerable kind of anguish. Nature then takes the management of the lungs out of our hands into hers, and we breathe in spite of ourselves.
THIS club, as I take it, was formed for mutual improvement. The narrowing and ever-increasingly narrowing tendency of professional pursuits, in these modern times of division of intellectual labor and eager struggle for life, renders the formation of such associations very necessary.
PROF. MORSE was born in Portland, Maine, in 1838. He had an early love of natural history, and at thirteen years of age he commenced a collection of shells and minerals. At the outset he made a specialty of shells, and in 1857 gave his first contribution to the Boston Society of Natural History.
YOUR April correspondent, Mr. C. W. Johnson, in his critique on my brief note which appeared in your pages of February last, either has misapprehended the issue I there made with Dr. Niemeyer’s article in reference to the salubrity of night as compared with day air in cities, or he has stumbled upon the unwarrantable conclusion, solely through the bias of his own cerebration, that, because I did not mention, in the short compass of a few lines, all the forms of local urban insalubrity, therefore I do not believe some of them exist.
NEW-YORKERS are somewhat exercised over the question what to do with their college, a problem which it ought to be easier to solve, by remembering how they came by it. What on earth New York City wanted with a college, when there were two good ones already in the town, not half full of students, might be a perplexing inquiry, did we not know that corporations, as well as individuals, often find themselves possessed of things which they don’t want and never intended to have.
CHEMISTRY undoubtedly stands among the first of the progressive sciences. Its field is so large, its applications so numerous and practical, and the number of its devotees in all countries so great, as to secure the steady and rapid advance of the science.
The Epoch of the Mammoth. By J. C. Southall. Philadelphia : Lippincott. Pp. 445. $2.50. Chemical Experimentation. By S. P. Sadtler. Louisville : Morton. Pp. 225. Browne's Phonographic Monthly. Vol. II. New York: D. L. Scott-Browue. $2 per year.
The Growth of Photography.—At one of the public lectures recently given under the auspices of the New York Academy of Sciences, Prof. Charles F. Chandler sketched the progress of photography during the last hundred years. The first authentic record of pictures made by solar agency he finds in Cooper’s “ Rational Recreations,” published in 1774, where an account is given of the marking of bottles by silver salts.
THE Department of Agriculture has received from General Charles P. Stone, now in the military service of the Khedive of Egypt, a lot of red-date seed, with which it is designed to make the experiment of growing the date-palm in the United States.